Dollar$ given to homeless. Here are the results…

Tent City in Vancouver, BC

You’ve heard this refrain before — giving money to homeless people is not the best way to help them because it might be squandered, or spent on harmful habits. But a new Canadian study makes a powerful case to the contrary…

Researchers gave 50 recently homeless people a lump sum of 7,500 Canadian dollars (nearly $5,700). They followed the cash recipients’ life over 12-18 months and compared their outcomes to that of a control group who didn’t receive the payment.

People who received cash were able to access the food they needed to live faster. Nearly 70% did after one month, and maintained greater food security throughout the year.

The recipients spent more on food, clothing and rent, while there was a 39% decrease in spending on goods like alcohol, cigarettes or drugs.

Have we finally reached a point of understanding by the body politic that embraces charity? Have we found a time when helping folks who are stuck on the way down – to get back up and build better lives?

I made my decisions about 60 years ago. Never looked back. Never had to. Down and out doesn’t mean you can’t move on, move up. Ain’t nothing wrong with giving someone a helping hand.

Help children respond to the pandemic affecting their lives

For parents, helping children cope during the COVID-19 pandemic may be as simple as listening, Steven Marans argues.

Children are struggling with difficult issues, says Marans, a child and adult psychoanalyst at Yale University Medicine and chief of the Trauma Section at the Child Study Center…

In a year marked by COVID-19, discussions around racial justice, a crashing economy, and a divisive presidential election, he says parents need to first acknowledge their own emotions and stress reactions in order to be most attentive to their child’s responses to recent events.

“Then, if children are having ‘big feelings’—or showing signs of their distress—it’s an opportunity to hit the pause button and help them recognize and reflect on those feelings,” Marans says.

Not solutions to everything; but, a lot to offer about individual questions children will be asking themselves and the adults important to their lives.

Dumb crook of the day

Authorities say a burglar who broke into a middle school got stuck on an elevator and was forced to call 911 for help.

Local media outlets report that police say 19-year-old Michael Claude of Laurel broke into the school Monday. Officials say he was riding down the hallways on a buffing machine before he got on the elevator. After he got stuck, police say, Claude called 911 for help, and an elevator maintenance service was able to open the doors.

Police say Claude was found wearing a Laurel letterman jacket that did not belong to him. He was charged with third-degree burglary, criminal mischief and theft. He was released on $3,800 bond.


Sheep will be able to call for help against wolves via txt msg

Swiss sheep could soon be texting shepherds for help when they are being stalked or attacked by wolves…A Swiss biologist is developing a collar that can monitor a sheep’s heart rate and spot when it is distressed.

The collar will call a shepherd if it spots that the heart rate of an animal has increased for an extended period…

I hope it can differentiate between life-threatening panic and the joy of sex.

Early prototypes of the collar, employing heart rate monitors similar to those used by runners to fine-tune their training, have been tested on 12 Swiss sheep. The tests, carried out in the Bernese Alps above Les Diablerets, involved scaring the sheep with two muzzled Czechoslovakian Wolfdogs…

Wolf expert Jean-Marc Landry from Swiss carnivore research group Kora came up with the idea for the collar in a bid to limit the number of sheep lost to wolves reaching Switzerland from Italy.

Growing numbers of sheep are being eaten by wolves, especially among small flocks owned by farmers who cannot afford a sheepdog. Even those that are not eaten trample down fences and flee long distances when being hunted.

Dr Landry said the first collars would be produced in the autumn and he was considering three different techniques to help protect the sheep.

The collars could be fitted with a mobile chip that alerted a shepherd via text message when the sheep were stressed. Alternatively they might play a loud noise or spray a chemical repellent to frighten off the wolf.

Landry is considering other processes the chip might be programmed to trigger. So far, not especially productive IMHO.

Though, I guess we might try to think up other practical defense mechanisms that would be initiated by appropriate circumstances and signals.

Italian tourists saved from sea in Somerset after calling farmacia

Oberdan Cosimi, Patrizia Castellani and Nino get to meet Pat Askwith

A pair of Italian holidaymakers cut off by the tide during a walk on the Devon coast were saved after making a desperate phone call not to the emergency services but to a local chemist.

Oberdan and Patrizia Cosimi could not think what number to dial to reach the police or coastguard so riffled through their pockets and found a Boots receipt with the telephone number of a store they had visited a few days before. They called the branch in Minehead, got through to dispenser Pat Askwith, 57, and she dialled 999 to get help for the couple, who are from Pisa.

The Cosimis and their springer spaniel Nino were airlifted to safety in a Sea King helicopter.

Askwith, who has worked at the pharmacy for 10 years, said she was delighted to help in the rescue…She said: “I received the first call at about 4.30pm. The problem was that the gentleman was on a mobile phone and they were right by the water so it kept breaking up…

“It was clear that they were really distressed. I called the coastguard and they were luckily able to track them down and help them to safety.”

The couple returned to meet Asquith at the pharmacy to thank her for her help…Oberdan said: “My wife was very scared for us and Nino, who is always with us, because of the tide and the weather. We felt fantastic when the helicopter rescued us. It was very special to meet the person who helped us – she was a lovely lady.

Bravo. The kind of aid to a stranger, a tourist – not so incidentally – I would expect someone to experience in the UK. All the years I traveled through Scotland and England by bicycle or hill-walking, friendliness, helpfulness always was the norm.